For me and countless others ... Jesus is the reason for the season and my kids and family mean the world to me and are the greatest blessings I have ever received. With all the hustle and bustle and trying to one up others -- people lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Isn't it supposed to be shared with those you love most? Isn't our presence supposed to be more valuable than presents? What happened along the way to constantly change people's perspective? Aren't we supposed to be remembering the most famous story in the Bible of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and the Angel visiting them in the manger telling them not to be afraid of the Angel's presence? We are supposed to be surrounded with our loved ones and attend Christmas service and gather around tables eating together and sharing holiday memories while listening to Christmas music.
If only people could really understand the true meaning of Christmas and not be so infatuated with the gifts, lights, shopping and trying to spend the most money to impress people - all the while getting in debt. Gifts fade and become meaningless, time passes, people forget what you purchased them and we tend to glorify the wrong things and situations. I am raising my kids that although receiving gifts is fun and rewarding in the short term - that actually caring for and spending time with the people we love is a lot more important. I teach my kids that being together and sharing time and giving love is what this season is all about. Giving back to our community is what we look forward to and trying to help others in need. Saying a prayer for someone hurting this holiday is a good start if you can't afford to buy anything monetarily.
I know the holidays are difficult for people who have lost loved ones during this time of year, or have gotten divorced or broken up with a significant other. However, we cannot allow these negative situations to hold us back from receiving Jesus's love for us and spreading holiday cheer. My parents separated at the holidays, my ex was a bah humbug at Christmas and family was spread apart for years (and still are) but I have had to fake it until I make it. I cannot allow my kids to see me depressed or saddened about what I don't have - because honestly I have more than most. I make good money, I am able to donate to charities that I care about, I donate unused items to those in need, I help my community every chance I get, I don't allow my past perspective to cloud my future happiness and I look to Jesus to bring me Joy. I remain grateful for the small things in life and don't worry about everything I cannot have or have been denied as that will keep me stuck. We all must keep putting one foot in front of the other and vow to look ahead at the new year that is approaching and be glad for our lives.
I enjoy baking cookies with my kids and we have a tradition of purchasing a real tree from a different lot each year. We also go ice skating outside, make homemade Christmas gifts every year and enjoy putting up old decorations that make us happy. We visit with family Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - waking up to opening gifts together on Christmas morning. We always leave Santa a note with cookies and milk and read The Night Before Christmas before we go to bed on December 24th. In years past when I was completely alone for the holidays (because I left my ex husband in October of 2009) I still knew what is most important - Jesus and family. Even when my kids presence wasn't available - they were always kept in my heart and for that I am forever grateful. I have not magnified the gifts or amount of money spent because I know how quickly it all can be taken away. As time has gone on - I attend less Christmas parties and events and have learned to say no so I don't burn us out or overindulge in eating foods that are absolutely terrible for us and abstain from alcohol. We keep a positive attitude and are sensitive to those that are hurting during this special time of year. While remaining hopeful - we embrace fond memories of life as children and continue with important family traditions.
While singing songs of sleigh bells ringing and deck the halls .... we truly understand the importance of Christmas!! We dress up and make our presence known on Christmas Eve in church and tithe because that is the right thing to do. We celebrate the birth of baby Jesus and comfort each other with the jolly old spirt of Saint Nick. We never forget to bake Jesus a cake and sing Him Happy Birthday on Christmas Day. The true meaning of Christmas is what you make of it and not all the fancy gifts that sit under trees and are to be forgotten as years pass. Go out and make new memories with your family that will last a lifetime! I promise you - time well spent together is better than money well spent on items that have a lot less meaning to them. Merry Christmas to you all and blessings for the New Year. Follow my page on Facebook at Kelly Benamati to be inspired and allow me to change your perspective each day one post at a time.